Tuesday, February 28, 2012


That right there is an example of intuition and momentum at work. As I always say, when things are going good they tend to keep going good and when things are going.....well you know. So that's a 25 to 1 odds on Matt Kenseth to win the Daytona 500 ticket bought at Caliente, the local sports book...and its mine. It was soooooo exciting, several big wrecks, a collision with a jet dryer that caused the biggest on track fire in Nascar history and at 11:05 Mazatlan time the pole sitter Greg Biffle pushed my guy to victory and 3,250 pesos for the Pro's from Dover...me. And, to set the tone for the race I fished toros all afternoon and was happily surprised with this nice snapper.  Its kind of like casting for humpies and having a 10 pound rainbow take the lure. I don't know how to tell you but I just new I was going to win my bet, MP poo pooed me a bit but I could feel it, we've got momentum.
 I'm so excited I can hardly sleep. Its not like its so much money or that I'm not used to being lucky because I really am...but I'm just not usually lucky with gambling. So I'm in bed at midnight and Slah and Team X are at the house raring to go at 5:30. I tell everybody about the race in about the same time it takes to arrive at 4th point and immediately Slah is on fire. He has 4 corvina on the beach before anyone else has a bite. He's got a white rubber swim fish on and its driving me crazy...I can't get a bite. But somehow being out fished by Slah doesn't make the rest of us feel to bad. I mean its like being Edgar Martinez and haveing trouble hitting Roger Clemons.  Slah attracts a crowd so I slip up the beach 1/4 mile and walla, fish on a 2 ounce Kroc. Theres a school of them right in front of me and I try to  camouflage my success as Slah comes my way. In the course of 30 minutes I've caught 7 or 8 and Slah another 5. Its our best day yet, Team X totals around 30 fish, the bulk of them 'chata' sized corvina, or white sea bass. Here's a pic of me with a pile of them and then our friend Louis with about half of them when they're being cleaned off.
So I pick my lettuce up at Caliente this afternoon and walk right out, resisting the temptation to press the bet. But even though I promised MP another Stone Island day I gotta fish with the team tomorrow, we've got momentum...a natural law of physics. ' Objects in motion tend to stay in Motion'. We're all feeling good, friendships, fellowship, understanding and sharing, new people, original people, nationals, gringos, introverts and characters.....Team X.
And oh, tomorrow I'm furnishing breakfast for the guys, fish of course. I've got smoked red salmon bellies, 1/2 dozen cans of  a really nice tuna ensalada made here in Maz. A couple cans of sardines in tomato sauce, some fresh tostados with mayonnaise and some fresh fruit....wish you all could be here.
And theres the guys this morning, the buffet is set on Slah's jeep. My friends went crazy for the smoked salmon like I knew they would. Ern had the hot hand with 4 corvina....and.....mmmmm....my momentum shifted. But thats OK, the next best thing to fishing the beach and catching is fishing the beach and not catching.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

It all makes cents

A few years ago I had a gold and black K-16 Kwikfish that was catching 80 % of our King Salmon for a period of three or four days. When I finally lost it on the bottom it was a bummer but of course we know where they sell them and can always get more....Well, you see that lure on my rod between all those gorgeous fish, its a Surface Tension 1 1/2 ouncer that cast like a bullet and drives those toros to suicide...and I lost it because I didn't re tie after that many nice fish...and....I'm embarrassed to say, I only bought one and the only place to get em is N.O.B. as we say, north of the border.
My friend Craig Kokeman and I had them surrounded the other morning. The toro chase your lure and just as often as you catch one he might miss the bait or whack it 2 feet into the air. Its flat exciting and now I know the allure of dry fly fishing, to see the fish take the hook is adds a whole new dimension to the deal.
So in the course of just 24 hours I lost my toro magnet, then a 12 dollar Krocodile 2 1/2 ouncer and then as Ern would say I had a schamoozle that cost me 20 bucks worth of power pro. All just to catch those fish...I was reminded of a customer one time who's fishing buddy told him that the King he'd just caught must have cost him over 2 grand....he said "man, I;m sure glad I didn't catch one". And Oh....the bee sting I got was an extra bonus....So we decided to drop the fishing and off to the Carnaval Parade, its something we never miss .

The city of Mazatlan might as well be sponsored by Pacifico beer. It starts the parade and it ends the parade as well as fuels the parade. Pacifico has always made a wonderful tasty beer and just recently started to produce a light beer...and, well frankly it stinks. So, they gotta convince us otherwise and Pacifico light is all the rage for the pretty people of Pacifico.

This year Pacifico broke out a new promotional device that's tried and proven in the USA, a blimp. It might not be a manned GoodYear of MetLife blimp but  this remote control unit was pretty darn cool. It would hoover over the crowd and then periodically set down on the float with a touch and go. 

Through the years I've taken maybe hundreds of Carnaval Pictures, the one of the lit up Palm tree that I posted last year is a favorite but the one below rates right up there...If you really want a good view of the parade you can rent Malecon side Hotel suite or you can buy a table at a Malecon side bar or you can even buy a seat in the grandstands. But the best thing to do is buy one of these cool hand crafted stools for 50 pesos and tower over the crowd. A few years ago I got one for the girls we were with and half way through the parade and of course a few Pacificos I started wondering how smart that really was.

There were lots of cool floats but if I had to pick a favorite, well two favorites, here they are. Of course the Thinker was a shoe in, I mean I've been thinking a lot lately and that float was just a cosmic convergence for me. It really made me think that what I've been thinking is pretty simple stuff I think, and no need to hunker down without your clothes on like The Thinker, is what I think. And of course this statue gal caught mine and everybody else's attention. She definitely won the most photographed person award at Carnaval 2012.

With as many as 150,00 people along the Malecon one of the big industries for Carnaval is the banos. For 5 pesos you can have your choice of a restaurant, hotel, public porta potty but ours is the basement of the local Bingo hall where a couple of enterprising young people were set up a bit off the malecon.

So it was another great event here Maz Land. MP and I hiked a mile or two to the gold zone and finished the night off with a couple pork tacos with pineapple, soooo good. This is one great place and as you can see at the parade, at the beach, at the building, at the market....the dress is always casual.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Tiger Woods, Richie Valens and Bobby Flay

Kind of reminds you of Steve Williams and Tiger Woods eh? I bought that umbrella at the 5th ave Mall in Anchorage 10 years ago and it finally came in handy. While MP was in Cabo, 300 miles away here in Mazatlan we had 2 days of overcast with wind, a little rain and some spectacular thunder and lightning. The morning Ern took this shot the rain threatened to run us to the car and when you have the #1 long caster in Maz I figured we better find a way to keep him in the game...the bite was on.  We fished the rocks at a new place and although it cost some metal lures we had a good morning in action if not tangible results....in other words....we lost some really nice fish. Right off the bat I had a huge corvina spit it right on the beach which is the critical part,  pulling them up to gaff level with all the extra drag of their own weight on the hook. In this case its true what all fishermen generally think....the bigger one seem to get away more. Then Ernie hit a nitro powered funny car, it ran straight out 3minutes and broke the line, never seen that one. THEN, I hit a nice fish that fights a bit then is off...yikes...ever had your lure break?  
  But eventually, we all know the 3rd times the charm and I land a nice 9 pound Corvina. By now you've seen many a dead fish so here's a couple pics of what they look like at their final destination. A few weeks ago I reported about Jake, the straw that stirs the drink around here. Well, he set up a fish fry yesterday for our building and it was well attended and a ton of fun... We stuffed this guy with some onion and veggies and
some nice fresh spices and after 40 minutes on the grill ...walla.... We had fish done many different ways and I have to say that this guy stole the show. Just something about seeing ole slimey ready for the table eyeballs and I all I'd guess. When the feed was over my guitar playing buddy Brian was picking over the fish for the last few pieces of skin.

Speaking of music, Thursday night we had one of our guitar circles and had 50 people or so in attendance, the coolest thing happened. In the pic below you see our friend Steve who plays 12 string and a kind of retro soft rock/folk music, he's great. and next to him is our bartender Joses' son Jorge Velarde who is driven, who really, really, really wants to play and entertain. And this night was his first ever to play to a crowd. Jorge had 2 songs prepared and it was obvious he practiced and practiced.

Just a month or so ago I taught Jorge the scale and as he ran the store all day I'd hear it every time I walked by. Jorge has grown up and watched us play ever since we've been coming to this building and now he's with us, pretty cool. Welcome to a lifetime of discovering new sounds, making new friends, smiling, cryin and having at least one thing in your life that will never let you down Jorge...the music.

Theres a pic of me playing a little lead for Stevie. Now I really never thought I'd be playing much rhythm more less lead so I have to tell you that I couldn't be happier with the way my musics come a long. Music is something that shouldn't be a contest but I've met many a player who thought it was. So its kind of nice to finally arrived where I'm at...comfortable with at all. So this night I help and encourage Jorge and as the folks are really listening to the soft sound of Steve's 12 string, I just kind of stay out of it for a while and listen myself. But finally the crowd wants something a little more up tempo....so...Its my cover of Hobo Jim's Iditarod Song. Thanks for coming you guys.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Can I borrow that Fish ?

That was the scene this morning as I put MP on AeroCalafia for the short commuter flight to Cabo San Lucas to see her mom. Our friend Tony offered to drive us as I wanted to make sure there were no complications for her, you think Flying in Alaska is an adventure, well, I asked her to take a lot of pics and I'll relay her experience. But I think the plane is ultra small, Tony says a hand start model like on The Great Waldo Pepper.  For a few weeks now every time a helicopter would fly over I'd wave at AeroCalafia. But she took it all in good humor and was looking forward to some time with her mom and a break from yours truly...I don't know why she looks forward to that part but she does.

So just as I'm getting home Slah calls...he's got that fish. The one I've needed for  the wall, the one I've needed to fill out the surf casters hat trick, the one I've had on my list of always evolving goals. A huge Robalo, is that baby gorgeous or what?
Suffering from a little sciatica I've taken a few days off and the team has been running on all cylinders without me. The last few days they've been at a new place and Erns convinced that he either hooked and lost that same fish or one just like it. These snook are real fighters and unlike most fish in the surf they jump and carry on. So tomorrow I'm all over it, sore back or not I'm casting the long rod. We do kind of have a code of honor with fishing, kind of...snapping a pic with someone else's fish is acceptable if you can take the ribbing....but having a mount made would be just tooooooo much.
The day I tweaked my back...Sunday I think....the days kind of blend together here...I managed to catch this fish while horsing around. I'd never seen it before and so I gave it to a local family and I could tell by their excitement that its a good fish. He called it Palmieato, a type of Pompano I think.

The next pic is our catch on Saturday...or was it Monday??...well anyway, I posted it to show you theres more to this deal than Corvina, Snapper and Robalo. We had quite a mix, a Corvina, a couple of boro or mulefish and a nice little ratone or ratfish I caught. You gotta be versatile.
But you don't want to be so versatile that you catch one of these baby's, it kind of slows down you progress. You can always tell new surf fisherman when they don't look left and right before casting because the pelicano is everywhere and he loves to skim above the waves right about half way through you casting range. But even the best sometimes lose focus and walla...a christmas turkey as Slah says. The first time I handled the Pelican it kind of freaked me out, but now knowing that their beak is weak, made for just closing and capturing, not chewing and ripping we just routinely perform a little outpatient surgery and recover the lures. I was wresting with one alone a few nights back and had him close up the bill on my arm...when I finally won the battle of the castmaster I had 2 appalled couples shaking their heads and stomping off down the beach. Hey, those lures cost up to 12 bucks, what are ya gonna do. So the final pic shows him healthy and happy, flying off to his destiny, no harm , no foul.

 Recently Mile 14 celebrated its 50,000 read with a cold Pacifico and what else...a fishing trip. Now its true that I've checked on my blog maybe 45,243 times but hey, that's still an impressive number. So I have thank all of you and I promise more to come, after all....we're partners, a team I'd say. Thanks again and my best thoughts to all of you.....JK

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Isla De La Piedra

Stone Island. But, like a lot of things around here its not really what it says, its actually a peninsula that is isolated like an island so the local folks just figure it actually is. And, like a lot of things around it here its also a surprising contrast to what you might think its like, just a short water taxi ride across the harbor from the bustling port of Mazatlan and you have miles and miles of wilderness beach.

Its one of our favorite things, an early morning walk through the neighborhoods of Los Pinos beach and then over the hill to the Port and lunch at the Island.  As we walk along we talk about the se vende signs and maybe what you could do with this or that house if you bought it. I think I'm a guy who could do it...live here for the rest of the program, but MP needs more stimulus in her life and I'm pretty certain she needs the good ol U.S. of A.  Once through this area we come out on a shoreline drive that has all these wonderful overlooks built. Its just about as scenic as any place in the world could be.

The water taxi costs 25 peso round trip. Its your basic panga boat with a 1985 vintage Yamha 115 horse...That starts every time with the first pull, thats right a 115 horse with a pull start, yikes. Years ago I had a 50 merc with pull start, now that baby would make a man out of you so I can't imagine the ooomph it takes to get this baby started. But our captain makes it look easy and in no time at all we're across the harbor. We walk across a dirt road and onto the beach, the island has maybe 20 palapa style restaurants and everyone has their favorite, ours is Pili's run by a guy named Rudy that we've gotten to know well through the years.

The coolest thing about the island is its relaxed atmosphere. Theres just nothing to to do here, nothing. Theres a small town or colonia and a few stores but the only industry I see is eating, growing coconuts and fishing for what you need to eat or serve to your customers. MP has chicken and I have some nice fresh shrimp tacos on homemade tortillas and of course a couple of pacificos.
While we're having lunch I'm negotiating a high finance business deal with Rudy. He wants 300 pesos for an hour of the 4-wheeler and I want to give him 200....MP and I are going to explore the farthest reaches of Stone Island like the Estrella complex about 10 miles down the beach, and of course look for dollars, a little cost recovery. So we settle on a package deal, lunch, 6 cerveza and a T-shirt along with at least an hour on the machine, I told him we could be gone longer if we run into a good restaurant down that way.
Those two pics tell the story of just how isolated this place is. We rode for 45 minutes and only saw one person who was a gringo surfcasting by himself, I kind of wanted to stop and chat with him but I kinda sensed MP might go goofy if I mentioned fishing on my day off from it. So on the way back I cruise a little a closer to the surf line, I really don't want Rudy's machine to get in the salt but we all know thats where the dollars are.... and walla....payday....1/2 a dollar...like I said, there ain't much to do on Las Isla.

Monday, February 6, 2012


Ahhhhh...the mantra of Team X, why make life complicated when sometimes its just this simple? It was a great week. MP hit a 500 peso score on a superbowl board, I caught many a toro and listened to some live music right here at our building that was incredibly good and we had a wonderful pescado feed at Slah's house and superbowl at Stans, the exclusive Tower 360 here on Cerritos beach. But, there was one little speed bump...I've had one of my gold crowned molars kind of loose for a couple years now so I thought I better get it looked at. I'm not real good with dentists, in fact next to elevators they might be my least favorite thing, I'd rather get my finger slammed in a car door than have a tooth extracted but that's exactly what had to happen this week. My friend and dentist Franciso Echeagaray said it had to go, in fact I'd been fighting an infection for who knows how long and the jig was up.......So, how long has it been, or have you ever, been in a professional health care office when they have time for small talk and you discuss fishing, the Beatles and the upcoming Carnaval events? Well thats Francisco's M.O., if theres a such thing as a pleasurable dental experience it has to be his.
So this morning he looked at the gaping hole where my tooth used to be and said alls good with the world. MP scheduled a cleaning and I'm going to get a filling replaced soon, a little preventative dentistry as I'm starting to run low on chompers.   Just as the doc ordered I iced the tooth and abstained from cerveza and of course the enemy of all tooth extractions, milk and milk products.  I have to say that even though I was a doubting Thomas the extraction was pain free....except for the part where he stuck the #2 pencil sized needle full of novacaine in me...3 times....and I left with this wisdom.

As we left Francisco's MP and I were talking about maintenance and keeping our good dental and all around health. Well, I'm kind of soft for VW Beetles ever since I drove to Alaska in one as a young man and this one told the whole story of how to view the ageing process, maintenance. Just like the guy who drives this VW I'm convinced a lot of it is state of mind, just perception and how to view the world and your part in it with a healthy and positive manner.

Lucky for us Franciscos office (and house) is close to the malecon. Me and MPeasy have a hand holder going, its 10 am and we've got a hankering for nice fresh coconut, one of Mexicos simple pleasures. We find this 'cococ, helados' spot on the beach and have not one but two. If you've never had one before you'd be astounded by how much juice is in each one.
Then you have the machete expert open the coco up and carve out the meat. We like ours authentic style with lots of chili sauce and limon drizzled over the top. Mmmmmm baby, and you know when I was a kid I thought coconut was dry and kind of disgusting, well it ain't....its moist, flavorful and I think pretty darn good for your health. and getting them here on the Malceon is certainly good for your mental health....Pure La Vida as we say in Mazatlan....